I was out taking photos in the snow in my garden and I had to laugh because I realized I have three Buddhas.
The thing about shade gardens and even shade into Woodland Gardens is some of the most beautiful gardens like that I have seen have been Asian-inspired gardens.
I guess my subconscious has been leading my garden in that direction, given what I have planted.
My first Buddha came from my sister. But he had to relocate into a patch of ferns and pachysandra because the chipmunks chewed holes in him. Yes that Buddha is officially a chipmunk condominium.
The other two Buddhas sort of found me in my travels. I love taking their photos in the snow.
Thanks for stopping by.
One of my neighbors was laughing at me yesterday. He drove down the street saw me outside with my hands on my hips staring at my giant pile of frozen woodchips. (Yes I know, like I was mentally willing them to thaw and lay themselves down.)
I was also staring with a scowl on my face because when you are piling woodchips, you can aim when they are being dumped, but they also just slide. This year they swallowed up my Kerria Japonica. Sadly, while a super tough shrub, I do not know if it will survive. I think I have to source another.
I have also been going over the Go Native Tree price list again. I am a believer in reforesting the woods and I want to plant hickories and American Chestnut too. I found out they won’t have American Chestnuts ready until at least the fall of 2019. But I am going to go ahead and buy 2 Shagbark Hickory seedlings and 2 Black Haw Viburnum.
RareFind Nursery will help with with my quest for Kerria Japonica. And I am also getting a Camellia japonica ‘Hokkaido Red’, Rhododendron ‘Mountain Marriage’ , (Witch hazel) Hamamelis ‘Beholden’ and (Witch hazel) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rochester’. All of these I think are for the back. Edge of woods or thereabouts. Jenny Rose Carey got me interested again in witch hazel and Catherine Renzi of Yellow Springs Farm is the first person who introduced me to them years ago. And Catherine will laugh at me, but I had forgotten I had planted some other witch hazels until I rediscovered them this summer on the edge of the woods. (Yes that happens when you have a plant habit!)
Now the Audrey Hepburn quote. She was a gardener. Years ago I had these VHS tapes called Gardens of the World With Audrey Hepburn. They got lost in a move. I wish I could find online or in a new DVD set. Only used sets are out there and they are outrageous in price for a used DVD set that may or may not work.
Anyway, I continue to wander around outside check on things. It’s what gardeners do in the winter. I also stop and listen to my birds. Some days they are very chatty. I noticed recently a mockingbird and today I saw the little bluebirds. And above, hawks circled calling to one and other. The cycle of life in the woods.
Out front I am mentally rearranging some plants. Like the shorter version of Joe Pye weed. Eupatorium dubium does not keep itself to 2-3 feet tall and in a front bed it is taking up too much real estate. So come spring I will dig it up, move it, and plant a new bare root David Austin rose.
Some of my roses have struggled because the damp wet summer bought borers. I lost one in the fall. I have two bare root David Austins coming – Benjamin Britten and England’s Rose.
How else do I get through the winter as a gardener? Reading. I subscribe to Gardeners World and Fine Gardening. I also have a gardening book problem. Like cookbooks, I love them. A lot of what I love is kind of out of print.
I have written many times of my appreciation of the late Suzy Bales, whom I wrote about a few times and most recently in 2016. There were a couple of her books I wanted but did not have. One of which was titled Gifts from Your Garden published in 1992, and before I get to that, there is a lovely archive of other articles she wrote on the Huffington Post website.
So Gifts from Your Garden arrived the other day. In her acknowledgements for this particular book she thanks Ken Druse. I never knew that connection and he is an author, gardener, podcast master whom I like and follow. As a matter of fact, his book The New Shade Garden is also on my winter reading list. She introduced this book in the following manner:
“For a time, I was a closet gardener. Friends would call to invite me to play tennis, swim, or come for lunch. In the beginning, I tried to tell the truth. ” I’d love to, but I have some things I planned to do in my garden.” They felt gardening was a chore, and it was all but impossible to make them understand that I really loved gardening.”
I totally, completely, 100% understand that sentiment. I know many people out there who think I am completely bonkers.
Now my husband thinks I am bonkers when it comes to my little bits of garden art. Or my concrete zoo as he likes to call it. Oh the face when I purchased Chubby Checker from Brandywine View Antiques. Ok first of all, the squirrel was quite reasonably priced, and second of all WE HAVE LOTS OF SQUIRRELS some of which are quite rotund so this made me giggle.
So yes, that is what I do. I wander around the garden mentally placing new plants where I think they will go and rearranging in my head where existing plants should be moved to. And I will twitch about it until spring arrives and my shovels can hit the dirt once again. And I find garden accents…well let’s be honest, I do that all year round but I am picky. I do not add just anything.
I am also mentally planning out my pots and I am thinking of switching more to of the resin variety which are not as unattractive as they used to be if you buy the ones that are supposed to look like stone. I am getting tired of hauling pots in and out every year.
I also have to start my seeds. I start them in a highly scientific manner. No not really, just on my dining room table. Tomatoes and hatch chilies. That’s it. I am not a truck farmer and don’t have much veggie room so they grow in pots and grow bags and move around following the light. Well I have to, we are half in the woods, after all.
Gardening books are so much fun especially in winter. Locally, places like Baldwin’s Book Barn have a marvelous selection. Balwin’s could use our support right now as they were recently burglarized which offends me on so many levels. How do you steal from people who are so nice? How do you steal from a place that is an institution locally?
Gardening I think is one of the best things you can do for yourself. That connection to the earth, and the creative process of creating your garden. As in YOU create it, not a landscaping service. Put the time and work into a garden, and it will reward you every day of the year.
I look at my garden and wonder if in the future if someone will appreciate my handiwork. Will they love my garden as I do now? Will they care about what I planted? Will they keep up with what I have done? I hope so. My garden gives me so much joy.
The last word is my pussywillows are starting to bloom already.
Thanks for stopping by.
So….Mike McGrath is one of my gardening idols. He’s kind of like Pennsylvania’s Monty Don, right? I have listened to his show off and on for years…long before I knew there was a Monty Don, truthfully (Sorry Monty!)
Anyway, if you follow their Facebook page for You Bet Your Garden With Mike McGrath you get all sorts of fun stuff to check out and learn…just like by listening to his shows.
So I saw that post I screenshot above and thought what the heck and sent the show an email expressing interest in calling in. And O.M.G. Mike McGrath e-mailed me himself!! (Yes, the inner and outer gardener start to geek out simultaneously.)
So today I spent time chatting with Mike McGrath (inner gardener and outer gardener are completely geeking out now all hope is lost!) Yes ME. Ordinary rabid gardener ME.
He is SO cool. He is every bit as welcoming and nice as he sounds on the air when you listen. Having had a rather different experience this week when I was on a local talk radio show after being asked to call in, this was a welcome change. It was like he was sitting at my kitchen table having coffee.
So we talked about growing tomatoes and I learned something new which was super cool . And we talked about my closed gardening group Chester County Ramblings Gardening Group.
Now I did not get to get his advice on Bishops Weed and ask whether or not there are actually true red cyclamen or if growers just feed pink ones dye. I did not get to tell him about my favorite seaweed feed Irish Organic Fertilizer…. Which is a bummer.
I admit I kind of did a wee short circuit like a teenage fan girl of David Cassidy or something. Dork city in other words. BUT nevertheless apparently I am on the show they will air on February 23.
If you have never checked out his show – you should – here are the times:
Saturdays at 10am
Mondays at 3pm
Wednesdays at 5pm
Episodes Available On:
Where can you listen to YBYG?
He is one of what I like to call my garden influencers. Here are the others:
Glorious Shade is her book and every gardener should have a copy!
Suzy Bales who passed away in 2016 – two books in particular Down to Earth Gardener: Let Mother Nature Guide You to Success in Your Garden, The Garden in Winter. My unexpected pen pal for a short time when I wrote to say thank you for her garden writing. Her books can be found with used book dealers on Amazon and other places.
Monty Don – Gardener’s World Magazine and BBC show. Author of a whole slew of books. I own Down to Earth and The Complete Gardener.
Gene Bush – Shade Garden Expert. Visit his website. (you’ll be glad you did)
Other influencers? Some of the growers and nursery folks I know. And gardens I have visited and gardens I have had. My current garden is a little bit of all of those.
Also another treat for you today? People I buy plants from…yes….plant resources:
Black Creek East Earl PA Mennonite owned, Facebook page and sort of a website 11 E Black Creek Rd East Earl, Pennsylvania 17519
Black Creek is my spot for herb plants, vegetable plants, old fashioned perennials and annuals that no one else has and much more. They also sell supplies and tools fairly reasonably. They are the only place I will buy a pre-made hanging basket from. The best times of year to go? Spring until full-on summer hits and then the fall. The greenhouses are PACKED with plants.
Yellow Springs Farm Chester Springs PA (amazing native plants and the best goat cheese ever) https://www.yellowspringsfarm.com/
Yellow Springs Farm is owned by Catherine and Al Renzi. Native plants organically grown and I have planted with them through three gardens. Catherine helped me do my first sort of riparian buffer. And they raise goats for award winning goat cheese.
Go Native Tree Farm in Lancaster County PA https://www.gonativetrees.com/
Go Native is so cool. The owner literally forages in woods all over including places like West Virginia for seed and seedlings. I have bought Chestnut and Burr Oaks from them and they have a micro species called an “Amish Walnut” which when cut has a tiger grain – it is a natural cross between a walnut and I forget what but you only find them in Lancaster County.
Rhododendrons Direct in Oregon http://oregonrhododendron.com/ Yes you can visit if you go across the country. The guy who owns it is named Jim. He had all my crazy red rhododendrons I wanted. His shipping is impeccable and plants are flawless.
RareFind Nursery in NJ https://www.rarefindnursery.com/ Mail order and in person – native plants – amazing
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs https://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com/ Mail order. Best bulbs
Camelia Forest Nursery https://camforest.com/ Ok in NC and you can visit I have only done mail order. There was a winter hardy Camelia created by Morris Arboretum years ago I wanted they grow Sochi tea plants.
Applied Climatology at the West Chester Growers Market email@example.com -they are on Facebook and in season you find them Saturdays at West Chester Growers Market https://www.facebook.com/AppliedClimatologyLLC Chris Sann is a walking encyclopedia of plant interesting – he is like my gardening father. And I have gotten some amazing plants from him. He gets me to go out of my comfort zone and try new things like green Japanese peonies.
Morningstar Daylilies in Woodstown NJ http://www.morningstardaylilies.com/ Mary Burgents. Open Farm days and mail order. And she manages Delaware Valley Daylily Society. LOVE her daylilies
Crownsville Nursery and Bridgewater Gardens for hostas and some woodland perennials https://www.crownsvillenursery.com/ in person and mail order in Virginia – I only use mail order – awesome plants
New Hampshire Hostas https://www.nhhostas.com/ in person and mail order – only have used mail order – also great plants. Unusual cultivars and old favorites.
Pickering Valley Feed on Gordon Drive in Exton. They have a Facebook Page. Plants, Supplies, and more….love them
West Chester Agway. Matlack Street in West Chester. They are so awesome and great plants, garden ornaments, supplies, garden carts and more. They also have a Facebook Page.
Uhler’s Feed & Seed Lancaster Ave Malvern. Plants. Supplies. Bird seed. Love them. They have a Facebook Page.
Somerset Nursery – Two locations to blow your mind Glenmoore and Zionsville.
Please note I list the resources I have used as a regular customer. I am not compensated for my opinion.
Bye now! (I have a cake to bake)
Yesterday was not a fun day in the garden because sadly tree guys working at a neighbor’s property took out our electric fence in our woods while taking down dead trees in our neighbor’s woods. But all is not lost as I heard from the company owner today and they told me they are going to pay for my repair, so I will take them at their word.
But it’s stuff like this that happens in the garden that drives me bananas. And we live in the woods so it’s happened before. It was an accident, and it could have been worse, because the tree that came down came down 14 inches from our shed (give or take an inch.) And thankfully the tree when it came down didn’t damage any of my plantings or younger trees.
I am much more Zen about it today, yesterday afternoon not so Zen.
Today I knew I had to put out deer repellent. I have had a herd of more than 10 going through the very back of our woods at our property line every day for weeks now. Truthfully, I’ve never had such a big herd go through back there. So if I don’t keep the repellent up and alternate repellant come spring I may have a munched plant problem. But while I was out today putting out anti-deer stuff I had a reminder that life still is pretty cool in a winter garden!
My Camelia japonica “Bloomfield” has flower buds!!! I am so excited! This was an experimental shrub for me and it was developed at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia originally.
Also super cool? One of my new winter blooming Witch Hazels also is loaded with buds! I lost the tag I think the cultivar is named “Diane”.
I have bought a bunch of different Witch Hazels now after being inspired by Jenny Rose Carey and her own personal garden. I have bought my Witch Hazels from three sources:
The Camelia came from Camellia Forest Nursery.
I also checked on my rhododendrons today. Rhododendrons and azaleas can take a beating in the winter and I lost my blue azaleas last year except for one. I for the most part have red rhododendrons that I have planted, but I also bought two yellow ones to experiment with.
How my yellow rhododendrons survive in particular it will be interesting because they are towards the front of the property and I put up reflective markers so my Township snow plows don’t plow them over (fingers crossed!) Yellow rhododendrons can be a little finicky in general in our planting zone of 6A, so we shall see.
Other things I checked on included my new Japanese Maples – Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ which also came from Applied Climatology. We are at the end of January and so far so good.
I know spring is coming because I got my David Austin Roses catalog. I am in a holding pattern on roses I might order one but that’s all.
I also got my newsletter from the Delaware Hosta Society . If you live in the greater Philadelphia/ South Jersey /Wilmington area and are a hosta fanatic like I am you should consider joining. It’s very reasonable for the year and they have lots of great events with interesting speakers. And they always have raffles at their events. I have some very cool hostas from them!
My other plug goes to Jenkins Arboretum. I have been a member of Jenkins for a few years and it is one of my favorite local arboretums, if not my absolute favorite local Arboretum. Jenkins does events and classes and workshops all year round, and if you go through their events calendar you will also notice they have events for children as well! It was because of Jenkins Arboretum I fell in love with Chestnut and Burr Oak trees. I live for their winter emails there’s always something fun to learn.
If you decide to join the hosta society or Jenkins please make sure and tell them you read about their organization on this blog.
Also note I’m not compensated for talking about any of these places. I belong to both Jenkins and the Delaware Valley Hosta Society, and the nurseries I mentioned I am a regular customer of.
I have also been gobbling up streaming British gardening shows. I find them through Amazon Prime streaming.
Well that’s it for me for the day. Take the time to enjoy your winter garden, it’s bones are skeletal but it has form and life all on its own. And plant some witch hazels if you have the room!
Thanks for stopping by!